Saturday, April 9, 2011

Meditation In Motion

In life we are faced with different situations and experiences. Most of these leave us rich in feelings and memories. A Holiday sometimes is a great way to have all of the above. This March I had a wedding to attend in the Indian state of Rajasthan, a glamorous and fun fair it was with lots colours and rituals that made me feel so in love with our entire Indian culture. We had our very close non Indian friends sharing these moments with us and it was a very special occasion. Once the wedding was over we set out to explore the state of Rajasthan.
Amidst the forts and palaces, sand dunes and architecture we found ourselves lost in time looking for our space. Rajasthan is one of those places that most people probably come back feeling dizzy with an array of emotions. The sudden street side dancing, a turbaned man playing an ethinic musical instrument or the snake charmers that charm your soul away……..all this leave you feeling like you don’t want to ever say Goodbye to it. For a state that boasts so much I had very little time to shop or the inclination too. I was too busy collecting myself through these experiences.
I found my space in the Gajner Palace 15 km outside of Bikaner. I felt I belong and I froze their and did not want to leave the place. I had some experiences there and in a Jain temple, which were very overwhelming and beautiful. A sense of timelessness prevailed through these. After a dizzing doze of Rajasthan we moved to West Bengal, Kolkata namely and it was my visit there after nine long years. Why Nine, well we take that out of this space. More importantly there was a lot of family catching up to do. It was fun witnessing my children’s reaction to all the extended family and how much of it they actually had. After Rajasthan, Kolkata seemed like a balm on our traveled feet and backs which were still reeling from the camel rides. We soaked in the family fair and then of course the main reason I was there, my first group exhibition ever and that too in India. It’s the names I was being presented along side with that made it a special experience. I was also proud to be the first artist chosen from Singapore to represent this festival that is now in its fourth tenure.
Then my family moved back to Singapore while I decided to do something out of my character be a little adventurous!! I moved to a fishing village under the guidance of a senior artist and tried to seek some inspiration from the environment. A shift happened here. Observing them one felt that their life was frozen in time. They were untouched by what we know as life, be it the internet or all our modern amenities. Simple and friendly souls who were ever so curious to find out why we were so motivated to capture their life on our respective mediums. They assumed I was an alien to their land and could not speak their language which made it fun to hear them discuss and talk about me and my experiences. Hilarious as it was it was also sweet to observe their innocence. Naturally so, they don’t see a jeans clad woman trotting about with a sketch book and camera in those parts everyday with her sun glasses on!! Well, I did make one great friend there. Man’s best friend that is. This fella took to me since day one and decided to be my guardian. When I spoke to him in English probably a language he is not used to he happily wagged his tail at me. A total stray soul found his place beside me and my back pack. I loved stroking his ugly patched half bitten fur. I found myself doing things I could never normally imagine. I sat on wet sandy steps to sketch boats. I took the local push cart and made the guy lug my heavy weight and felt guilty about it, but it saved me an hour’s walk!! Evenings were contemplatary listening to “the artist” and his vast experiences. The food here was simple and so tasty. My feet hurt but my thirst for learning felt like it had just begun its true journey.
So overwhelming was this entire trip for me that if left me feeling empty in a certain way. When I came back to my own environment I felt alien in it. It felt removed from it all… hmmm…….maybe I had some very real experiences that left me feeling raw and hungry for more. My material needs were replaced by a numbness. Slowly and gradually the realization that I need to prepare for the group show in April made me hit my canvas.
“Any True feeling is ultimately spiritual” was what I was told by a friend….and that was what I had experienced. Hence my conclusion that Life seriously is a journey, and a “Meditation in Motion”.